Cllr Michael Collins proposed outright ban on election posters
NEWCASTLE West councillors have signed up to a voluntary ban on posters for the local elections to be held next May.
And unlike in previous elections, this voluntary ban will not be confined to towns and villages but will extend right throughout the Newcastle West Municipal District.
Now, Cllr Michael Collins, who proposed the ban, is hoping that the council’s Environment SPC and the full council will adopt the same approach. Limerick, he said, should lead the way on this. “We don’t need to be putting our mug-shots up on poles.”
Election posters are costly and a blight on the countryside and also a safety hazard, Cllr Collins said, proposing what he called a “complete” but voluntary ban on posters.
But the main impetus behind the proposal, he told his fellow councillors was plastics.
“There is a huge emphasis on plastics at the moment,” he said, reminding them of government proposals to reduce one-off plastic usage. Plastic, he continued, was affecting marine and bird life as fish and birds ingest plastic and it was making its way into the food chain and being ingested by humans. And when posters were taken down, Cllr Collins added. the plastic cables remained on the poles, some for as long as 20 years.
“I think we would do our communities a big service by having the ban,” he said, adding that it would also help Tidy Towns committees preparing for the competition.
“I think this local authority should take the lead in banning posters as well,” he continued, asking that the motion go forward to the full council.
Seconding the proposal, Cllr Francis Foley said the reaction to the ban in towns and villages at the last election had been very positive. “People commended us for taking a stand,” he said.
“Let’s be honest, they look desperate and there could be 12 or 13 candidates,” Cllr Liam Galvin said, also supporting the proposal. The only problem he foresaw was that while the six sitting councillors could agree on a ban, what about other candidates?;
Cllr Collins agreed a candidate could not be stopped from putting up a poster.
But he said: “Let us take a lead, let us be environmentally conscious and support the government in getting rid of one-off plastics.”
“You will be accused of trying to corner the market,” Cllr John Sheahan told him.
But the motion was agreed. Cllr Jerome Scanlan undertook to raise it at the February meeting of the Environment Policy Committee which he chairs and it will also go be forwarded for debate by the full council.